Is there space for webOS? [from the forums] | webOS Nation

Is there space for webOS? [from the forums] 43

by Derek Kessler Sat, 05 Jan 2013 9:52 pm EST

Is there space for webOS? [from the forums]

The webOS Nation Forums have always been a font of awesomeness, and there's no sign that's going to stop anytime soon. Some of our favorite moments come about when somebody poses an interesting question and the community runs with it. We've been having one of those moments since yesterday, when mattmers asked "Is the OS market too full for webOS?" Matt put together a daunting list. On top of the mobile operating system pile are Android and iOS, with Windows Phone 8 and soon BlackBerry 10 fighting for a distant third place. Then there's the bottom tier, a group of operating systems fighting for recognition from a carrier or manufacturer, let alone sales. They include Firefox OS, Sailfish OS, our beloved webOS, and the recently-announced Ubuntu for phones.

In an operating system market with two dominant players and two duking it out for a distant third place, is there really space for four different operating systems to be engaged in a battle royale for the attention of manufacturers, carriers, developers, and users? Compelling reasons to pick from this crop of unloved operating systems are few when there are established options like Android and iOS available for all parties involved. That's not to say that we don't love webOS; we do, but there's no way we could in good faith recommend to a friend that they go seek out a Pre3 or a TouchPad or hack Open webOS onto their Galaxy Nexus (at least not yet…).

As Windows Phone and BlackBerry show, there's a question of if there's even a viable third place in this hyper-competitive market. Let alone a fourth, fifth, or sixth player. Apple, Google, and Samsung have succeeded at convincing users, developers, and carriers to go with their hardware and software, and it's increasingly becoming a two-party race in smartphones. The jury's still out on tablets, with Microsoft's Windows 8 and Windows RT still playing out, but with the high turnover and subsidized prices of smartphones it's getting harder and harder to break in with each passing day.

Of course, there's a question of if webOS needs the be on smartphones to survive. Despite being on a dozen carriers world-wide for years and carrying the brand power of Palm and HP, webOS never quite took off like we would have liked. There's a multitude of reasons for that failure and we won't bother opening up that wound again, but it's entirely possible that the door has closed on smartphones for webOS. There's still definitely an opportunity for tablets, but things would have to get rolling in the very near future before that door closes too.

In all of the rumors and rumblings of what HP/Gram is doing, we've yet to hear a peep about smartphones. In fact, the biggest story of what Gram is working on hasn't been a smartphone or a tablet, but a partnership with LG to produce a webOS-powered smart television. Whether or not webOS will be a good fit for an HDTV, well, we'll have to see it first before we pass judgement, but it speaks to the flexibility of webOS as a multi-purpose operating system. It's entirely possible we'll never see another webOS smartphone or webOS tablet, but that webOS will still live on successfully in other applications. But when it comes to fan bases and communities, that's much harder to maintain when you're talking about televisions or (just ruminating here) automobile nav units or refrigerators. But we'll cross that bridge if an when we get to it.


I am in webos for a smartphone,
and just hope porting is eventually
daily usable.

I agree with you. I have 2 pre , 1 Pixi (all on Sprint) and I also have two Touchpads. I love my devices and thank goodness I can get replacements if needed on Ebay and Amazon.

It amazes how stupid and ignorant the public is. All I hear is Iphone and Android from people. The Apple people are like sheep. I have tried IOS and it's a piece of crap. The only good thing is the apps but 90 percent of the apps are junk. Android is clunky and takes too many steps. WebOS is the best OS out there even today. No comparison. The only thing that comes close is Ubuntu.

Dear Derek. Please GO AWAY! I don't know who gave you this position, but ALL of your posts have this undertone that WebOS is teh bork. We know you love iOS. We know you don't care about WebOS devices anymore, please leave the rest of us be.

Truth be told, on my touchpad, I still go to the free RSS reader on WebOS to read my news. I still go on WebOS to check my mail. I still go on WebOS for twitter AND for browsing. Sure, Android has more free games, and sometimes I like playing them so I go on there. Or when I'm working on making a website compatible with Android in specific. But really, for *anything productive* I'm in WebOS. How about, more screen real estate (no need for a giant bar on the bottom). A Flash implementation that actually works. A ridiculously intuitive user interface. Not getting in your way when something new arrives (yes I know android has something similar, but for some reason it's not at all that fluent).

When I head to my parents, and I'm still in Android, they ask me to reboot into WebOS if they want to show me something. It is because the blooding thing works so darn easily! Just type is Just awesome. And the keyboard is simply much less annoying than the android one. No, I don't know why, it's just like that.

And about phones. I know you dislike WebOS with our old devices and mediocre whatever. You know what? I don't give a shit! I can call anyone faster with my Veer than anyone with an Android or iOS device. And messaging? It is STILL superior! and a lot of superior at that. Mode-switcher even ensures all settings are always how I want them. Have a battery issue? mode-switcher will turn off all my radios so the tiny Veer will last for another 10 hours, easily. And that's just a tiny example showing that we're still better than those two big players.

So please Derek. You know what's bad about WebOS? YOU posting in webosnations. EVERY SINGLE TIME you have to slide in vague negative opinions. You spread FUD where there is none to be spread. Please head back to Cupertino and go pray to your gods. I long for the days when the posters on webosnations actually cared about WebOS.

VERY WELL SAID!!! He sounds like one of those APPLE SHEEP. Guess what? APPLE SUCKS!!!

You guys saying Dereck wouldn't be a good field general? So funny

Hey, now I want to make fun of Derek just as much as the next guy, but at LEAST try to hide it farther down the page, not in huge caps and as disrespectful as that.......
And who's to say he wouldn't make a good field general? Brigadier Derek Kessler, at your service......... yeah you're probably right

While I would not have been as harsh as you were with my criticism, I fully subscribe the facts.

Even nowadays where every platform shipped like two or three generations of hardware and we are still sitting on our "old" hardware people ask me what I use and once they used it, they ask me where to buy it.

I am following the "Whitby's Law": If your device works, there is not reason to feel bad about it only while others have newer hardware or whatever.

The advantages are still huge over the competition IMHO ... hardware keyboard, Just Type, Exhibition mode, Gestures etc etc ...

For the time being I will try further to find developers and fund them over in order to get even our "old devices" further to perfection.

While I agree with your statements regarding webOS, I can't say I ever got a vibe that Derek was anti-webOS or pro-iOS. He's said some unflattering things about webOS but they were/are true. It's not the best mobile OS when it comes to performance. But it does have the best UI. And it is woefully short on apps.
That being said. I still prefer webOS on my Touchpad to CM9, and I am sticking with my Pre3 on AT&T.

Regarding your comments about Derek:

-a year ago people were accusing Derek as being too Pro webOS
-if he doesn't stay realistic, no one will care about this site (accept for webOS sheep)
-I think he does a pretty good job being balanced (some articles pro webOS, but then some not so Pro
-one can like Apple and iOS and still write for webOS Nation (for the record, I own no Apple products)
-Derek has been a huge proponent of webOS in the past. Asking him to go doesn't make sense

Why hide behind an alias name "Pleasegoaway"? You don't have a single post in the forums. You made this name so you could post on the front page without revealing your "secret" identity. Pretty sad when you act like a coward on an  online forum....stand up for yourself!

yeah screw derek! what is his problem?!!

I love my Pre3 and my Touchpad, but WebOS needs a viable future. Otherwise it will gradually dwindle away to nothing, little by little.

I've had the Pre3 for about a year now. It is a very nice phone and I will continue to use it at least another year. But there's a limit. Hardware is getting faster, memory is increasing, screen size and resolution are increasing, apps are improving. If nothing happens, I'll move on.

That said, a year is a long time. Perhaps there will be a fully working port to an up-to-date device. Perhaps Gram will actually put out a product. These are the things I'm waiting to see. Will there be a future?

We need to have an app developed so we can run webOS on the phone of our choice. This is the bottom line. In an ideal world we should be able to buy a phone and install an OS of our choice. For us it is webOS

There is room for webOS as long as people can, and will, buy hardware with it preinstalled. HP doesn't need to "take over" the industry segment; just a profit. Also there are other markets besides the United States of America. Just selling developer handsets that support Linux kernel on ARM...the more GPL'ed the OS software the more hackers and FSF and Open Source folks will love it. There are slews of graphical desktop OS'es that use the mainline Linux kernel, why not sell handsets to enable the same thing for smartphones?

About the webOS TV thing: "REALLY!?" webOS is to become a glorified remote (Client/Sever)? Apple, Google are both working with integrated TV...hopefully better than Viera Cast, ie a tablet or smartphone can be the remote. Canonical is even trying to market Ubuntu TV. It will come to device sales to generate revenue to improve the OS and create users for developers to target apps to.

See The Forest For The Trees

> The World population is 7 Billion and growing. Fast.

> World-wide active mobile broadband subscriptions [2011] - 1.2 Billion
> Top five smartphone manufacturers, by 2011 global sales - 491.4 million units
> IDC predicts that 686 million smartphones will be sold in 2012
> IDC predicts that 122.3 million tablets will be sold in 2012, rising to 172.4 million units in 2013 and 282.7 million units in 2016.
> Direct revenue from app sales, in-app purchases and subscriptions across smartphones and tablets will be $7.3 billion in 2011 rising to $36.7 billion by 2015.

> American cell phone user Budget Expense [2001] - $210 / year
> American cell phone user Budget Expense [2010] - $760 / year



iOS, Android, Blackberry & Windows could (and should) experience generous growth in their futures. But - as the above stats illustrate - there will STILL be a substantial "potential" market for other OS alternatives.


Nothing is given, nor should be taken as given. The technology world has, and will continue to evolve. There will be giants like Microsoft - once the dominant purveyor of the computer world - give way to a company that once lived life on the edge of an abyss (bankruptcy), only to become the new Dominatrix. Somewhere down the road they'll hand the baton to the next guy.

In the end, money talks. For the most part, it takes its' cue from the simple prospect of growth. And in the mobile arena - at this time - growth seems to know no bounds.


I like how when webOS is pictured next to any of the OS's it looks more modern. Even though webOS by appearance has not changed since it's release while all the others have had some change subtle or drastic.

this is first comment ever on this site.

I've had every device Palm/HP have released and at the same time I've had every other smartphone money can buy at the same time.

webOS out of all the OS I've used is still the most intuitive and fun to use. I feel Palm was well ahead of its time and in some regards a re still despite how quickly this market moves.

I'm not into all those fancy apps I just need to make calls, send email, update my calender, surf the web and tweet now and the. I can do that on any device but my Pre3 give me the most satisfaction on the above.

if webOS does wither and die (which I hope never happens) I'll still jam out emails etc for as long as the Pre allows.

Long live webOS

webOS forever. Ios and Android NEVER!

Dereks's sense of realism is only thing making this place relevant.

Well said Chalx. Derek, you've done a great job for years and there's more people then you could ever imagine greatful for you hard work and dedication.

"If you build it, they will come" sadly HP hasn't built it....

My major qualm with my TouchPad is the abysmal browser. The rest I can deal with.

Which is gonna get fixed because we'll soon have a new web browser with up-to-date WebKit thanks to dkirker's porting effort. So that'll solve almost all browser issues.

'Is there still room for WebOS?'

That window closed when the Almighty Ruby made fools out of everyone that invested hundreds of dollars and countless hours in an insultingly-built and half-baked Pre.


I just read this article from another site 4 days ago about the same topic:

Now I know that the article is opinionated but she does bring up some valid points.

I love WebOS but for it to make a comback is going to take a miracle. A company is going to have to invest billions to even have a small shot, then it has to compete against the IOS and Android giants for just a small sliver of the pie.

That small sliver is deceiving.

Unit sales (tablets & smartphones) are exploding, so even if iOS & Android experiences an increase, the pîe will be much bigger. And as such, that slice will be more financially supportive.


Sure there's room for webOS!

always will be!

Sounds to me like the market has decided if there is space for webos (there isn't)

Derek is just telling it like it is. As a Palm user since the 90's, I feel like he is a good guy having to do a tough job in a dwindling market. My profile story is analogous to what has happened between Palm and Android/IOS: I used to be MrPre on this site and MrDroid on AndroidCentral but Mobile Nations wanted just one profile, so I chose the MrDroid profile over MrPre: I was a major Palm fanboy but I could see the writing on the wall that Android is rising through the ranks to take on IOS and, like it or not, that is the future. I still love webOS, but you have to accept reality and not be delusional...Derek has done that while many of you have not. Maybe webOS will make a comeback and maybe that sock you lost in the dryer 5 years ago will finally be found! ;-)

I can't say I do not agree with Derek on some of the facts he mentions (nor other mentioned by some commenters).
About the question/title on this article, Let me put it like this:
I am a Palm user since Trêo 680. When webOS came out, I felt in love for the 3rd time in my life (JesusChrist and my wife won by a head -timely speaking). That being said, I was REALLY struggling a several weeks ago, when my -about 6 months old- Pre³ went dead on me (believe it's the flex) and had to go back to my no-earpiece_no-mic_no-wifi Pre+ (I'm still on it). Then at some point I said to my self: "this is enough; lets look something else out there!". So I came across the SG Note II; Wow! I still like the phone with the stylo/S-pen (which I kind of long since my Trêo 680 days/years) and some great feature the Note II brings. After a couple of weeks of torture on "if I should get it or not... if I make a step to the android zone (I still would have kept my Touchpad) or not", I saw the video of ubuntu mobile OS and said to my self: wt'da hell?! Ubuntu? (no offense intended) Gestures? Multitasking? Been there! Done that!!
webOS is its name!!!
Since then, I've modified my e-bay listing to Pre³s. I'm getting my new Pre³ and if possible a Nexus 7 to "pour some Open webOS on it". Those recent_vaguely-narrated events gave me the answer you're looking for Derek, which is: YES!!! There's space for another mobile OS other then android, iOS and the 2 others fighting for 3rd place. We only need a sucker that will put all his eggs on Open webOS basket/devices! I KIDD!! I KIDD!!! ;-) But, yes; Open webOS needs to make a comeback on a new device to call its home (smartphone and tablet -"phablet" too please!-).
Please, SOMEONE PLEASE make a Open webOS device!

Thank you and best regards to all.

P.S.: These comments let me know -as a webOS die_hard (just back from rehab)-, that there's still passion for our beloved mobile OS. So greets! (which they were hundreds though; thousand wouldn't hurt as well)

You are missing one, and in my opinion the biggest, underdog in the mobile OS race: Tizen. With Samsung and Intel Tizen will have the best and biggest support.

I have a Nexus 4 with the newst Android for a month now - Android still loses to webOS in usability.

Yeah, support. I thought the same when Intel brought Maemo around and later teamed up with Nokia for MeeGo. And where are both now? Maemo got killed and MeeGo got turned to the underground scene where the small company Jolla is trying to revive it as Sailfish OS. So I'm not very confident in Tizen yet.

that's a good point (you could also make with hp and webOS) but Samsung already pushed their Bada on the market and has already announced Tizen devices, so I think they will also push Tizen as they could save a lot of money by using their own OS instead of paying licens fees to Apple or MS.

Of course they would attack Anroid or even Windows 8, but compared to the other OS there are (or will be) at least devices that come with Tizen.
Sailfish, Firefox or webOS just don't have the hardware to run on.


Alcatel and ZTE are going to produce Firefox OS phones and Jolla is going to at least produce one phone.

Yeah man! As soon as I heard HP bought webOS I was like fcuk man life's over! I miss webOS being the exciting OS. This is sad :(
I hate losing good stuff. I hate saying goodbye ;(
Baby Jesus help us!!!
DK, ur very much right about webOS being in its death bed. Lets setup a funeral by the end of this yr n let it rip. unless something exciting happens :)

Derek is pretty much to the point. The truth hurts from time to time.

On the other hand, I would be fine if open webOS for Galaxy Nexus would work one day as a productive Phone/OS Combo. Only problem than: No support from developers. Currently, I am very happy that we have a port of WhatsApp. But here will always be a lack in App landscape for a system just hard core users are using.

It's okay if it is continued to be developed by Indies. I will use it. But I will be missing the parts of bigger eco systems that make them shine.

Edit: Oh, another thing: How will the marketshare be measured in the future? If it is taken from sales numbers, Android will have much market share, but x percent of those Android devices will actually run open webOS, Ubuntu, ...! This is actually the next problem if we talk about gaining market share.

You're pretty much right, but I don't like how you say 'no support from developers'. You should be ashamed to say that 'cause now the devs that are still around must feel terrible. There are still apps that got maintenance. In fact, 1 week ago I had 4 updates through the Software Manager (so not even Preware).
Plus there are new efforts like Phx Maps or Sprw which runs natively on Open WebOS now (soon to be public beta).

You got me a little wrong there. I am very thankful for every developer we have (and had - hello inglorius!).

My point is that we will have a hard time to get new developers on board, especially if you look at commercial app companies from other platforms. Guess most of developers that work for iOS and Android couldn't care less about webOS or any other niche ecosystem. This is especially a problem for unique key apps - like WhatsApp. If there wouldn't be jmoralico, I could not chat with the big bunch of my friends for free. On the other hand, all the efforts by the community to talk KIK to get into the webOS game didn't turn out to be succesful.

And webOS won't grow as much without those key apps. Show webOS to an iOS or Android user. In case you could maybe convince them, you will lose em at the point where they are asking for their daily bread & butter apps. Ever seen a hipster without instagram?

This is what keeps me very skeptic.

Stupid Instagram. I'm a hipster myself and I'm not using Instagram. I don't like how it's automatically bundled to hipsters.

Instagram is fun for non-hipsters too :)

Don't mean to be rude but Derek, do you follow the forums? The LG rumor turned out to be... well, a rumor. It's not gonna happen (unfortanetly).

One Kernel to rule them all, One Kernel to find them,
One Kernel to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

Too many mobile OSes on top of linux...